Friday, September 26, 2008

"Capture and Kill Bin Laden?"

Did Obama mis-speak during the debate? Or is he really suggesting that bin Laden be summarily executed upon capture? If he is committed to the rule of law, he should be more careful. If captured, bin Laden would be entitled to humane treatment including a fair trial before execution.

8 comments:

M said...

He'd be entitled to a fair trial followed summarily by execution?

Heh heh heh...

hank_F_M said...

Did I here correctly; only one of the candidates mentioned torture, which he rejected.

A pattern?

Diodotus said...

Nice catch, M, you're right I should be more careful too, eh? I should have written, "including a fair trial to determine his guilt before he is sentenced." It raises an interesting conundrum when it comes to war crimes trials in general - can someone of such notoriety ever receive a truly "fair" trial? Nonetheless this is at least the standard of justice aspired to by international rule of law, which Obama supports, and what is called for in the Geneva Conventions.

J. said...

If bin Laden is sighted, is there any doubt that the operation is going to be an air strike (vis a vie Baghdad March 2003 when someone thought they saw Saddam) instead of a "capture"?

And if captured, pardon my enthusiasm if he is shot while trying to escape. No Hague trials, please.

Cleitus the Black said...

Ahh, I am so glad to see that the vigilante spirit that has led to countless lynchings throughout our inglorious past is still alive and well. How very nice that you would prefer to see a prisoner "shot while trying to escape", rather than face trial... I only hope you don't mind that I propose we apply the same logic to all criminals; dispose of that annoying presumption of innocence, and commute those long and costly prison sentences to a swift and cheap bullet in the back of the head. And if it happens to be your son or daughter who falls afoul of the law, well, you'll pardon my enthusiasm if you find yourself hoist by your own petard.

Diodotus said...

Well assuming we are actually fighting a "war" then war rules apply, friend, not those of the civilian police force.

Cleitus the Black said...

"War rules?" Last time I checked, murdering prisoners in your custody was still a crime, whether in war or peace, but what do I know? Lots, as it turns out... Summary executions DO have a long and inglorious history in the US military - one lieutenant in WWII got so fed up with German POWs being "shot while trying to escape" that he resorted to giving the sergeant assigned to escort them only a single bullet for his pistol, on the premise that if the sergeant were to murder one prisoner, the rest could then beat him to death. But if we're going to sink to the lowest common denominator, why stop there? Let's torture him a bit before he "escapes" (oh, wait, that's rather a given, isn't it) and them hopefully shoot him somewhere less than immediately fatal, so that we can chip his gold teeth out with a K-Bar while he squirms in agony (as Marines commonly did to still-living Japanese wounded on Tarawa.) And later, we can cut off his head and spike it on the front of one of our tanks (another popular WWII activity) - that'll really show those darn fundamentalists who they're messing with... Or, perhaps we could act like we really ARE somehow different from our foes, and "fight from the moral high ground" as I was once advised always to do... Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

Diodotus said...

Look, Cleitus, according to Article 42 of the Third Geneva Convention, it's actually legal to shoot prisoners who are trying to escape, as long as it's a last resort and you give warnings first... so as long as they're trying to escape, it's not "murder" - at least not under "war rules." What's not permitted is to shoot them for trying to escape, once you've recaptured them - they have the right to try so they can't be punished for it (Articles 91-94). You, on the other hand, have the right to prevent them escaping. I don't disagree with any of the points or historical examples you raise, just pointing out the difference between police custody in the US and prisoner of war camps... of course the Bush Administration's position is that bin Laden wouldn't have POW status anyway, so...

 
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